Almost anyone who plays regularly for the Tomah High School boys basketball team could wind up as its leading scorer.
Friday, it was Charlie Ella’s turn.
Ella scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the first half to lead the Timberwolves to a 72-43 nonconference victory over Black River Falls.
“He’s so smooth,” Tomah coach Brad Plueger said. “He’s a great cutter, a great passer, and he can shoot the ball.”
Ella did much of his work at the foul line, where he was a perfect 10-for-10.
“That tells you he’s in attack mode,” Plueger said. “You can see the strength in him this year compared to last year.”
Tomah improved to 2-0 with its second straight nonconference romp.
The Timberwolves never trailed, although Black River Falls kept things close with 3-point shooting in the first half. Evan Voss drained the Tigers’ fifth 3-pointer of the half to cut Tomah’s lead to 26-21 with 3:25 left, but Tomah ended the half with a 7-0 run with Ella hitting two foul shots and a 3-pointer during the stretch.
Tomah put the contest away midway through the second half with a 16-2 run capped a by Dustin Derousseau breakaway dunk that staked the Timberwolves to a 57-29 advantage.
Plueger said the Timberwolves stifled the Tigers’ offense by keeping them out of the lane.
“We run a three-on-three no-paint drill every day,” Plueger said. “That’s a big focus for us.”
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On offense, Plueger said Ella and the other wing players − Derousseau, Carson Lindauer and Kade Gnewikow − broke down the Tigers’ defense by attacking the rim.
“We can’t just settle for threes,” Plueger said. “We have to be able to get to the rim, get to the foul line, and then we can extend our lead with the three.”
Derousseau added 16 points for the Timberwolves, and Gnewikow finished with 14.
Nobody from Black River Falls reached double digits.
The Timberwolves return to action for another nonconference home game Tuesday against Wisconsin Rapids. Varsity tipoff is 7:15 p.m. at Tomah High School.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMAH 72 BLACK RIVER FALLS 43
Black River Falls—Dobson 2, Yaeger 7, Antonelli 3, Cowley 7, B. Williams 4, Tom 4, Bird 6, Roou 2, Voss 6, Nicols 2.
Tomah—Kd. Gnewikow 14, Lindauer 5, Derousseau 16, Gerke 7, Z. Williams 4, Pierce 5, Ella 21.
Three-point goals—Yaeger, Antonelli, Cowley, Bird 2, Roou 2, Kd. Gnewikow 3, Derousseau 2, Pierce, Ella 3.
B. River Falls 21 22−43
Tomah 33 39−72